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By close reference to any two scenes, discuss Shakespeare's dramatic presentation of contrasting attitudes to love in Romeo and Juliet.

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Introduction

Shakespeare/Pre- 1914 Drama: Romeo and Juliet By close reference to any two scenes, discuss Shakespeare's dramatic presentation of contrasting attitudes to love in Romeo and Juliet. You should comment on the significance of aspects such as: * Structure and context; * Language and imagery; * Audience response, bearing in mind and commenting on the social and cultural background of the play. Romeo and Juliet has remained a very popular play ever since 1595 when it was first performed. One of the reasons for the play's lasting recognition is that one of its main focuses is on love. We are presented with many different versions of love throughout the play, of which there are at least four; courtly love, sexual love, dutiful love and true love. To demonstrate contrast between different attitudes to love, I am going to compare Romeo's unrequited 'love' to Rosaline in act 1 scene 1 with Romeo and Juliet's true and inevitable love at their wedding in act 2 scene 6. When Romeo first believes himself to be in love with Rosaline, his idea of love seems to be very conventional. ...read more.

Middle

This meant that when he was with her, it caused him such great pleasure, but at the same time it was unbearable, because he knew his love was unrequited. This is how we can say that Romeo was suffering Petrarchan love and it would have been entirely understandable to Shakespearean audiences. However it also lets us know that the love affair that Romeo has with Rosaline causes her to be more of an idol than a true love. This again contrasts with the wedding scene between Romeo and Juliet. In the last fourteen lines of the scene, Romeo declares his love for Juliet and Juliet follows by returning all of Romeo's feelings. The result of this is that Romeo and Juliet's true love is highlighted and it shows Romeo's maturity from a state of idolising Rosaline to truly loving Juliet. There is a great difference in the line lengths between Act 1 Scene 1 and Act 2 Scene 6. In the first lines between Romeo and Benvolio in the first scene the lines are short and end- stopped, and in places there are interjects (Benvolio: "In love?", Romeo: "Out"- , Benvolio: "Of love?"- Lines 164-166). ...read more.

Conclusion

One of the causes of Romeo and Juliet's death at the end of the play is that everything happens too quickly. The friar's caution that "violent delights have violent ends" relates back to the prologue when the death of the two lovers is prophesied. This tells the audience of the intensity of Romeo and Juliet's love, because they are going against the heavens (and religion played a huge part in Shakespearean society) because of their love for each other. The main type of love in this play is of course true love which is shared between Romeo and Juliet. The other types of love really just serve to highlight the strength and uniqueness of Romeo and Juliet's love. Although this love causes their tragic deaths at the end of the play it shows how strong their love must have been for them both to have made the ultimate sacrifice for each other. Their love also brings the two feuding families into peace. All the different variations of love in this work of Shakespeare come together to create a most beautiful and memorable play. Kimberley Gajraj 14th July 2003 ...read more.

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